Two weeks ago, a rumor circulated that the Department of Homeland Security was “behind” the crackdown at Zuccotti Park. The rumor originated with Michael Moore who got it from a thinly-sourced article in Examiner.com. I wrote about it here and here.
The author of the Examiner.com article, Rick Ellis, published multiple updates to his thinly-sourced post, and promised that he would provide more information once he had it. That was on November 15. No further information has been provided.
So I figured this rumor would be put to bed. I was wrong.
Today — ten days after the rumor had been debunked — Naomi Wolf saw fit to write an article so fraught with hyperbole — “what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war” — and so utterly fact-free that its publication should hang like an albatross around Naomi Wolf’s neck for the rest of her career. It is Judith Miller-style hackery, and it is shameless.
Naomi Wolf wrote a nonsensical piece today that’s being spammed all over Twitter. It asserts that there is a deliberate plot afoot via collusion by the United States Congress, the Department of Homeland Security and our oligarchical overlords to undermine the very populist, leaderless Occupy Wall Street movement. One of her key pieces of evidence is an unsupported and unverified report that 18 mayors coordinated their crackdowns with the Department of Homeland Security. There’s only one problem with that: It’s nothing more than innuendo. Here, let me show you. Continue reading →
[Hi there. This is a guest blog post from friend and reader Black Canseco. -ABLxx]
Dear Occupy Wall Street:
Police brutality in America did not begin with you. It’s older than you, older than your encampments and older than your sudden awareness of it.
As one of the 99% you claim to champion, I for example, have seen police brutality firsthand throughout my childhood and my adult life right on to this day. As an African American male I have seen what happens when you occupy black skin in the presence of a police officer. I’ve buried friends who were shot by police despite having broken no laws. I’ve seen police batons and fists, backs of squad cars and squad carhoods used as weapons—not because I or my fellow African Americans were protesting or making any public statements, but simply because we were breathing and existing outside our homes.
As one of the 99% you claim to champion it’s my belief that Occupy Wall Street’s best hope of addressing police brutality is to first understand that police brutality did not begin with any occupation movement nor has it ever been limited to the parks, college campuses and gatherings where you are.
For every OWS encampment there have been hundreds of unarmed black men have been shot by police, sometimes in the back for occupying little more than their own skin. For every OWS participant that has been pepper-sprayed there have been hundreds upon hundreds of African American who have been beaten by police often within their own neighborhoods. For every OWS participant that’s been zip-tied and carted off to jail legions of African Americans and Latinos have been unfairly prosecuted and excessively sentenced by local, state and even federal courts.
But until Police Brutality was visited up on OWS protestors it was a complete and total non-issue for the Occupy Movement. There was no outrage from current OWS supporters when even the most famous of police injustices occurred. Unfortunately it has taken the faces of victims of police brutality to become Whiter, seemingly more educated, seemingly more “mainstream” for police brutality and injustice to even register as blips on OWS’s radar. (And don’t think that this obvious and observable fact has been lost on the millions of people of color who have yet to join the occupy movement.) Continue reading →
A woman shopping with her two kids at a Wal-Mart in Northridge figured she’d jump on the “casually pepper spray everything” train by pepper spraying other Wal-Mart shoppers to keep them from buying what was constitutionally hers:
The pro-Obama chanting combined with Obama’s handling of the #OWS hecklers — “‘families like yours, young people like the ones here today — including the ones who were just chanting at me — you’re the reason that I ran for office in the first place.’” — makes this video good for the Obama campaign and not so great for Occupy Wall Street (which is already losing public support.) Continue reading →
Indeed: what right do we have to think that Lt. John Pike should probably not have indifferently dusted peacefully sitting protesters with pepper spray from only a few feet away? And, gosh, even if we were going to Monday-morning quarterback the police, shouldn’t we remember, as Megyn Kelly tells O’Reilly, that pepper spray is “a food product, essentially”?
What’s the big deal? It’s just food. And besides, when it comes to policing librulz, anything goes!
The violence being visited upon Occupiers across the country is shocking, but also familiar.
For me, it is so important that people stop and consider that the police brutality — while horrific, egregious, and even shocking to some — has been part of the daily experience for many people of color for as long as we can remember. I need for people to stop and consider this point.
But even if folks can’t or won’t consider this point, I still hope that this collective struggle can become a learning experience that binds the broken pieces of the left. I hope that those who have personally experienced such brutality in the past, or who are part of communities that are routinely subject to such brutality can find it within themselves to treat those (our white homies) who are suffering this brutality anew with patience and understanding.
And I hope that those who previously never imagined that they could be subjected to this kind of police brutality will grow to understand what it’s like for communities who have learned to live with the inevitability of this type of violence.
I think if we keep talking and keep trying to make connections with one another, there’s nothing we can’t do.
Today at Occupy Davis, a police officer approached a group of students sitting in a line peacefully on the ground, walked up and down the line and pepper-sprayed them directly in the face — as one would spray pesticide on weeds. What you’ll see in this video is such a callous display of police brutality, I don’t know how this police officer is going to go home and look at himself in the mirror.
As the students cry “Shame on you!” the police arrest a few students; but as the crowd circles them — non-threateningly, but insistent — the police begin to retreat. Then, amazingly, the students (via People’s mic) offer the retreating police a moment of peace: “We are willing to give you a brief moment of peace so that you may take your weapons and your friends and go. Please do not return.”